"They want one of the [Yanks' minor-league] catchers and [Eduardo] Nunez," a person familiar with Seattle's thought process said of any potential deal with the Yankees.
Austin Romine is catching at Double-A Trenton, and Jesus Montero is catching for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. They are considered the top prospects in the organization, which also has young catchers Gary Sanchez and J.R. Murphy in addition to Francisco Cervelli, who is in the big leagues.
Nunez is having a breakout season at SWB.
The Mariners are scouting the Yankees' organization thoroughly. They had two scouts recently in Charleston (Single-A). Last night they had two scouts watching Trenton play Reading, one of whom was former Yankee minor-league coach Bill Masse. They are slated to have at least one scout check on SWB shortly.
The immediate need for the Yankees is a bat, but if the Mariners are going to shop Lee, the Yankees will be interested because he will be a free agent after the season. Of course, he is making $9 million this season, so even if the deal is made at the July 31 deadline, the Yankees would have to pay him $3 million.
If they were to give up Romine or Montero, the Yankees would need assurances that Lee would sign an extension and not become a free agent.
As for adding a bat, the Yankees have scouts following the Astros in the event that club holds a fire sale and wants to move first baseman Lance Berkman, who would be a DH for the Yankees.
There are obstacles to adding Berkman or any other high-priced bat such as the White Sox's Paul Konerko, because of the money owed. Berkman is making $14.5 million this year and Konerko $12 million. Berkman has a complete no-trade clause; Konerko a limited no-trade.
If I were GM if Lee could be had for Romine and Nunez it would be done already. That is, if the Yankees has a spot open in their rotation. Kinda doesn't make sense to go after him, unless they plan on moving Hughes back to the pen again, which would be crazy unless he had already reached his innings limit.